The Dama D Roca Garnacha 2016 is a $5.99 Trader Joe’s import exclusive produced by Bodegas Paniza, a co-op of 300 vineyards located near the town of Paniza in the Cariñena DO of the Aragon region of Northeast Spain. Bodegas Paniza makes several other Trader Joe’s Spanish wines. This Garnacha was aged in oak barrels, which is extremely rare in Garnacha in this price range. Bodegas Paniza is a success story, they were founded in 1953 by a group of local farmers, in 1982 they founded their own bottling line, in 1996 they built a new state of the art winery, and in 2015 built a new architecturally significant facility to meet the rapidly growing demand, they produce 15,500,000 bottles a year. Garnacha is one of the leading Red grapes of this region, along with the Southern Rhone Valley just north of here in France, where Grenache (the French spelling) and Syrah are combined. Garnacha is a sleek, rich, not particularly tannic wine that often in the value price range is produced unoaked. It does very well as a unoaked wine, which makes this 6 buck Garnacha an unexpected surprise, there should be added flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and spice. The alcohol content is a ripe 14.5%.
The color is bright, shiny, barely see-thru, black cherry red. The nose is blackberry, toasty vanilla, Nestle’s Quick powder, black cherry, hint of smoke, and a touch of soft spice. This is medium to light bodied wine, with soft, balanced, smooth flavors. It tastes of blackberry, black pepper, licorice, and spice. The mid-palate offers raspberry, orange zest, and a little tart cranberry. There is a little rough edge to the mid-palate that gives this Garnacha a rustic feel, which I think provides some personality not often seen in a $5.99 wine. The finish is subtle and fades before long.
The Dama D Roca Garnacha 2016 is a solid wine, there may be Spanish Garnacha I prefer for $3 to $5 buck more, but this wine is awfully tasty for under 6 bucks. It drinks well, has a bit of personality and sells for $5.99, how can anybody complain about that? Don’t fear cheap wine, the more I drink it, the more I am impressed.